How do you measure perfection?

Walking along the beach in Northern California in June is a pretty amazing experience.  Bright blue sky, deep blue-green ocean water, crisp white caps on the waves, soft sandy beaches sprinkled with shells. 

I walked outside for a couple hours this morning picking up shells, rocks, and sand dollars. For a bit I was caught up in the trap of finding the ‘perfect’ shells. 

It got me thinking about what I deemed as ‘perfect’ versus ‘imperfect’, and how imperfect we each are as human beings.

But who defines what ‘perfect’ is? For sea shells, is it the whole and intact shell? Is it the piece of sea glass that’s smoothed and softened?

As humans we all have imperfections, we’re flawed. We stumble through life experiences at times. We say things too abruptly, we don’t always clearly convey our meaning or intentions, we snap at others when we don’t mean to.  We too have chips in our shells.  

But does that make us less desirable? NO!

Looking closer at these shells there is so much more to them than the dings and dents. This shell with the chipped edge has the neatest purple barnacle shell attached. This shell has a hole on one end, but has vibrant, iridescent colors.

Like shells on a beach, what if you started measuring your strengths with the same vigor as you do your flaws? Notice where you shine brightly, where your curves are smooth and soft, where the parts of you are that make others light up when they are near you.  

I think (actually, I know) that many of us have been through challenges, painful experiences and trauma. These experiences leave chips and scuffs on our shells. They may have left us feeling like we were broken in half.  But those marks left on us don’t change the beauty in our souls. You can still radiate, shine, and beam with joy.  

Here’s to connecting with the amazingness inside of you, even if you feel a little scratched up on the outside. Remember, you and only you defines what ‘perfect’ is.



Adriana Joyner, LMFT, is a Sacramento area therapist specializing in helping people lead authentic lives.  Adriana’s most passionate about supporting individuals exploring their gender and sexuality, and advocating for the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway ‪50 at Sunrise Blvd. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call ‪(916) 547-3997 or email